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Liposuction Recovery: What to Expect

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Published in Recovery

Many patients who are initially excited about plastic surgery can be turned off once the discussion turns to recovery. Most procedures can be performed in just a few hours, but the thought of lying in bed for weeks to heal is stressful.

Fortunately, liposuction won’t leave you bedridden for months. Let’s go through some of the basics of lipo recovery, and find out just how ‘bad’ it really is.

(We promise, it’s not nearly as bad as you think).

How long does it take to recover from liposuction?

Your recovery time from lipo varies, depending on the skill of your doctor, your general health, and the amount of fat removed during your procedure.

No matter what, your surgeon will explain the details of your procedure after meeting you and gathering more data—making the whole process as easy as possible.

But really, how long?

Yup thats right! One of the myths and misconceptions about liposuction is that recovery is a long process. On average, people who get lipo experience pretty short recoveries.

Typically—as long as your lipo isn’t incredibly demanding—patients can return to work and most activities within a couple weeks.

There’s no need to stay cooped up in bed for weeks on end. Plus, liposuction is usually an outpatient procedure, meaning you’ll be able to return home shortly after your procedure without staying the night at a medical center.

How do you manage pain from liposuction?

Pain from liposuction is common, but most intense discomfort will subside after 2-4 days. You will continue to be tender for several more days, but wearing a compression garment will help.

For the first 2 weeks after your procedure, you’ll want to avoid some common pain medications like Motrin and Advil—they can increase bruising and drainage.

Most of the time, liposuction will create a temporary loss of sensation in the affected area. While you might be tempted to use heat or cold to relieve discomfort, being unable to gauge the temperature could result in damage to your skin if you aren’t careful.

Taking it easy is crucial during the first few days after your surgery. If your job or home life is particularly demanding, it may be frustrating for you as your body recovers—but it’s much safer to recover properly than risking injury.

What does a typical liposuction recovery look like?

Each patient is totally unique, and everything from your health to the amount of fat you want removed will play a role in how quickly you recover. That said, here are some basic guidelines for what to expect from the lipo recovery process:

  • 1 Week: You should no longer experience any fluid drainage from the surgical site, and most people are able to return to work. You may also resume taking showers instead of baths. You may also begin a light walking program.
  • 2 Weeks: Most patients no longer experience bruising. You may resume light activity.
  • 3 Weeks: Most patients no longer required to wear compression garments.
  • 4 Weeks: Most patients no longer experience swelling. You can resume regular exercise. As swelling disappears, you will have a better idea of what your results look like.
  • 6 Months: Skin elasticity will return to normal, and your full results will be much more visible.

Recovering from lipo is fairly low-stress as far as surgery goes!

When should you seek medical attention after liposuction?

Complications after liposuction are uncommon, but they do happen and it’s important to be prepared. You should get help immediately if you experience:

  • Possible infections—signs are a gradually spreading area of redness with or without pus drainage
  • Feeling faint
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme pain
  • Excessive bleeding

Serious complications are rare, but the possibility is always there for any surgical procedure.

Your doctor will do everything possible to minimize your risks and make your recovery as speedy as possible, and should always be available to answer your questions and concerns after the surgery.

Don’t feel overwhelmed

Your surgeon is your partner, from your first consultation to the very end of your recovery. They’ll work directly with you to create the perfect procedure and recovery plan for your body, making the entire process easier to understand.

A good surgeon will get you great lipo results. But an incredible surgeon will make you feel great, too.

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